How Ukraine’s crisis affects the Middle East
The situation in Ukraine, which has weakened Russia, will keep the country busy and prevent it from supporting Iran and Syria
People are overwhelmed with joy in in the Arab world following the toppling of Ukraine’s president Victor Yanikovich, despite the fact that most Arabs don't know Ukraine's exact location on a map. The move marks a divine vengeance against Russia, which played a hideous role in supporting Syria's evil man, president Bashar al-Assad, for three years. Russia helped Assad commit massacres against civilians.
Russia has not awakened from Ukraine’s uprising yet. It rushed to reject the new regime and described the peaceful uprising as an armed rebellion. The response came in quick as Ukraine cancelled Russian as the second official language, ignoring that Moscow lent the former regime $15 billion two months ago.
The question is: does the crisis of Ukraine weaken Russia and therefore weaken Iran and Syria?
Repercussions for the Russia’s allies
It's certain that the Russian command got involved in a very difficult situation as a result of the events in its strategically important neighbor. The crisis in Ukraine will consume must of its time, efforts and attention.
The crisis is still in its beginning stages and will escalate because of widespread anger against Moscow. Proof to this hostility lies in one of the first decisions issued by the new Ukrainian regime: canceling Russian as a second official language, despite the presence of Russian-Ukrainians in the country.
The official statement made by Iran regarding Ukraine foretells real worry. The situation, which has weakened Russia, will keep it busy and prevent the country from helping Iran as it negotiates with the West on its nuclear program.
It's certain that the Russian command got involved in a very difficult situation as a result of the events in its strategically important neighbor. The crisis in Ukraine will consume must of its time, efforts and attention.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
To a lesser extent, this also goes for Syria as most Russian activity is based on exporting weapons to the Assad regime. The Syrian president is continually following up on what's happening in Ukraine as the disputes obviously affect the regime’s Russia ally.
If Syria loses support from Russia, the political landscape may change. This could be a positive for the Syrian opposition if they can build a united political front.
The crisis will grow if Russia pushes provinces affiliated with it to separate from Ukraine. If this happens, the dispute will last longer and Ukraine will head towards the West.
Russia, which talked about expanding its influence for a long time, has hinted that it intends to play a big role in Iran, the Mediterranean, the Gulf and Egypt. However, fire has reached its border. The danger against Russia is massive because of what happened in the Ukrainian capital. The events may encourage a rebellion in the Russian capital as those who opposite Vladimir Putin accuse him of corruption.
What concerns us is not throwing stones on the Kremlin but that the Russians refrain from drowning the region and the rest of the world in its struggles, which could bring it back to the Cold War era.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 26, 2014.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.
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